Reports | May 15, 2012 14:19

Gelfand-Anand G4, another Chebanenko Slav, drawn after 34 moves (VIDEO)

Gelfand-Anand G4, another Chebanenko Slav, drawn after 34 moves

The fourth match game between Boris Gelfand behind the white pieces and Vishy Anand behind the black pieces was drawn after 34 moves. Again the World Champion from India defended himself with a Chebanenko Semi-Slav and again he got equality with Black quite easily. The score is 2-2 with eight more games to play.

Four games, four draws in Moscow | Photos © Anastasia Karlovich & Alexey Yushenkov

Event World Championship MatchPGN via TWIC
Dates May 11th-30th, 2012
Location Moscow, Russia
System Match

Viswanathan Anand & Boris Gelfand

Rate of play 120 minutes for 40 moves, then 60 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 61
Prize fund 2.55 million US $ (60% for the winner)
More information Read all info here
Videos ChessVibes on YouTube

The 2012 World Championship match still hasn't seen a decisive game. Now that the fourth game ended in a draw as well, on Thursday a World Championship match starts that will last only eight games. Obviously it's too early to speculate, but some journalists have already been joking about the nightmare scenario of twelve draws, when a rapid and blitz tiebreak will have to decide this match...

Like in the second game, a Chebanenko/Meran came on the board. Gelfand deviated at move 10 but Anand had clearly expected the move and continued playing fast. In fact it was theory until 16.Rad1, which created some sort of 'Babylon tower' (with the whole d-file filled with pieces), as Sergey Shipov called it.

A few moves later White 'won' the bishop pair, which made commentator Jan Timman believe that White must have a tangible advantage. However, not long afterwards the position had become dry and just like in the second game, the advantage of white's bishop against black's knight wasn't serious enough for Gelfand to continue playing.

Here's our video report, which includes some more observations by the legendary Dutch GM Jan Timman:

PGN string

Match score



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


geminme's picture

Thanks Stephen that was ingenious. Never knew Houdini and Rybka were developed with capability to assess players’ hairs also!!
Anyway, Magnus must be smiling looking at games and wondering why in the world he opted out playing qualifiers.

RealityCheck's picture

Based on your conversation here, one gets the impression your smile, (your wit) has failed to push through the matted undergrowth of noybs' pubic hair.

geminme's picture

@RealityCheck – Point noted thanks to your intelligence in pointing out.

RealityCheck's picture

You're welcome.

Thomas's picture

Several people write about Gelfand nursing small advantages, but isn't it also Anand accepting small disadvantages with black? Gelfand with black goes for sharper play with three possible results. Who primarily defines the character of the play, white or black?
Anand followed the same strategy against Topalov (mostly, after his Grunfeld in game 1 had gone wrong) - while he had won the match against Kramnik primarily with the black pieces.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Thomas, you may be right that Anand has no problem with small disadvantages, but there is no prove of it as long as Gelfand doesn't put it to the test. Can Anand still do it as he used to?
Both in the second and the fourth game, and to some extent in the first game, Gelfand could have played on without taking too much risk. And in all three games Anand seemed to have a narrower path to follow to a draw.

Thomas's picture

Hmm, Anand's Bundesliga game against Tiviakov (with all due respect, not the strongest possible opponent) suggested that Vishy is vulnerable in slightly worse and passive positions - on the other hand, that wasn't the most important game in Anand's chess career.

But the question is whether Gelfand's advantages were big enough to be at all promising. Regarding game 4, Shipov seems to be the only expert suggesting that Gelfand should have played on. And Timman's assessment that Gelfand must have played inaccurately because his optical advantage faded away is also - let's say - speculative as he didn't give specific improvements for white.

I don't think it was excessive respect from Gelfand for Anand. Maybe he is too objective. Unlike Carlsen, he doesn't believe in pressing for the sake of pressing to outsit the opponent. Unlike Topalov, he isn't a member of the church of Sofia.

roamingwind's picture

"Unlike Carlsen, he doesn't believe in pressing for the sake of pressing to outsit the opponent."

Agree. This is what Gelfand should do -- press Anand whenever he has a chance.
After all this is a WC match. WC games are won
via other "honorable" means, psyche/preparation/nerves, than just pure chess.

Frits Fritschy's picture

You hit some nails right on the head.
About the game against Tiviakov: I dont't know how it works with top players, but I would be pretty sick from such a loss. When a weaker (even nominally) player outwits you tactically, well, that's just bad luck; the next two games you'll do it to him. But losing like that... An excellent reason to test Anand just there.
Whether Anand's advantage was big enough in the games mentioned – well, the engines say not so most will follow; as a commentator you'll never will be harshly criticised for that. I would have played on; that was the main reason for my comment.
The image I have of Gelfand is not that of a drawing master, more that of a classical, 'scientific' player. So what you say in the last paragraph is right on the mark: he might be too objective. With that comes the idea that your opponent (especially if it's the world champion) will think the same as you: not an opponent, but a colleague in science. A problem that Carlsen or Topalov will never have.

Thomas's picture

Interesting comment. Obviously engines can only give the _current_ assessment of the position, not how it might change if players do not find the very best moves.

"I would have played on" is understandable but may not hit the nail. Whatever your level is, I guess you aren't even an "ordinary GM" :) - so at your level two results may still be possible with imperfect play (only a black win is quite unlikely). Likewise and probably more obvious, amateurs play on longer before they resign - up to a certain level (Elo 1600?) even being a piece down without compensation doesn't mean that the situation is hopeless. So annotating from an amateur perspective may be as questionable as using an engine perspective. And I am not so sure that GM annotators blindly believed engines, they may just have used their GM perspective?

"A problem that Carlsen or Topalov will never have" - true but at least Topalov (and Nakamura who has a similar approach to chess) may have different problems: They are in danger of overpressing (hard to do in the given game) and they may be disappointed if pressing doesn't have the desired result. After the match against Anand Topalov claimed that he missed a couple of wins. As a matter of fact he just had seemingly favorable positions - and it had been Anand's own choice to defend the optically miserable Slav endgame. I wonder how this affected Topalov's mood and play during the match.
To each his own problems, and not so clear to what extent a player can choose between them!?

Frits Fritschy's picture

You have some points, although I don't totally agree with them. But because life moves on, let's call it a draw. But before that, check out this game and tune in on move 28: [the spam filter doesn't allow me to give the url, but it is in the databeses]. (Benkö-Parma, Belgrad 1964; I found it in Schereschewski, Strategie der Schachendspiele.) A little better starting position for white (and an amazingly simple win), but you see the similarities?
By the way, my rating has been around 2100 for the last 35 years, so I'm slowly getting weaker (but I have some experience).

Septimus's picture

If Gelfand plays aggressively, Anand will fold. He should have prepared to use the KID. Hopeully, we will see e4 from now on.

Mike's picture

This is like a Nerves Marathon, based on computer analysis preparation on both sides...Classical chess is becoming computer assisted chess...

Frits Fritschy's picture

Just saw Daniel King's comment on Chessbase about game 4. It's a nice lecture, and it does go a little under the surface, but, disappointingly, not very deep. Basically he says (in an endgame like after 32 Rc6 Rxc6 33 Bxc6): put the knight on c7 and together with the pawn on b6 you have a more or less impregnable fortress. Any 1800+ player could come up with this. Any 2000+ playing white is capable of thinking then: now I'll try to find a nice Zugzwang. No mention by Daniel.
I'm not saying a Zugzwang should be there, but it is close to what I said in my previous comment: the professionals trust their engines or don't dare to (are too lazy?) to question them. 'Let's just make a nice story that fits the evaluation. Why bother people with variations? They can look them up themselves with Rybka or Houdini, and God forbid that I give something that sidesteps this – I'll get crucified.'
I disagree with Steve Giddins that computers have killed chess, but they surely are harmful to chess journalism.

Chess Fan's picture

"the professionals trust their engines or don't dare to (are too lazy?) to question them. 'Let's just make a nice story that fits the evaluation. Why bother people with variations? They can look them up themselves with Rybka or Houdini, and God forbid that I give something that sidesteps this – I'll get crucified."
Very interesting comment. Thanks.

Anonymous's picture

´ I disagree with Steve Giddins that computers have killed chess, but they surely are harmful to chess journalism.´ haha my thoughts exactly =)


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